23 Jan 2008

Indian Kanoon: An amazing online law resource for India

If perhaps the government was not up to it, a fellow Indian finally set himself up for the challenge and did put it up. Welcome to the world of digitalized legal information on India. A student of University of Michigan, as I am informed by my fellow-bloggers, Sushant, has launched a search engine (which looks just simple and friendly like google) to search for and about Indian laws. In fact it is not surprising that the launch of Indian Kanoon has already been written about by pluggd.in and featuring on wikipedia and technorati

But then this doesn’t stop me from putting my own thoughts and views on the development. Given the fact that I have been an ardent supporter of technology and its interaction with the legal systems [see related posts; Installing Technology in Courts: A more forward, and India Code: A good legal resource] and in fact really appreciate the Knowledge Commission’s view to this regard as well, it really feels good to find significant work being done to the direction of making laws more searchable and convenient to work on.

And therefore we have with us, IndianKanoon.com which promises us to remove two structural problems with our legal structure. To quote

While it is commendable to make law documents available to common people, it is still quite difficult for common people to easily find the required information. The first problem is that acts are very large and in most scenarios just a few section of laws are applicable. Finding most applicable sections from hundreds of pages of law documents is too daunting for common people. Secondly, laws are often vague and one needs to see how they have been interpreted by the judicial courts. Currently, the laws and judgments are separately maintained and to find judgments that interpret certain law clauses is difficult.”

And to address this anomaly, IndianKanoon seeks to achieve the convenience scenario bybreaking law documents into smallest possible clause and by integrating law/statutes with court judgments. A tight integration of court judgments with laws and with themselves allows automatic determination of the most relevant clauses and court judgments

Well I am not sure what that meant technically and how that it done, but in so far as it is doing the same, excellent. For convincing myself, I ran a search with search term ‘dowry’ and it did bring out the most relevant results. First it gave the definition of dowry under the relevant enactment and then the case laws upon the point. Then another definition under a different enactment and cases thereunder. Excellent I would say for the reason that it not only categorizes content but the search results are also amicably admirable

Nonetheless I tried it again and ran searches with search term “income tax”, “value added tax”, “raw material” and it did indeed turn out with excellent results. This makes me totally agree with the last line of description of the search-engine “Hope Indian Kanoon helps you in your search for Indian laws and their interpretations.” Way to go Sushant !!!

1 comment:

Tarun Jain said...

Now that I have written a post reviewing Indian Kanoon, I received an email from Sushant, the creator of this website, who wrote to me as under;

Hi Tarun,

Thanks for reviewing IndianKanoon. I posted your link in indiankanoon
forums http://indiankanoon.com/cms/forums/viewtopic/15/

It was nice to hear back from him for I hadn't anticipated that.

Thanks Sushant.